Dr. David Cutler’s The Savvy Musician blog is worth checking out for high-quality career tips.
In a recent post, he discusses careers as a military musician. A couple of highlights for the woodwind-inclined:
With the possible exception of saxophonists and euphoniumists, few musicians dream of a military career. Yet this path can provide a dependable income, solid benefits, and varied opportunities.
This no doubt refers to the problem of “classically-trained” saxophonists with shiny new BM degrees and no gigs. Symphony orchestras, if you haven’t noticed, don’t hire full-time saxophonists. Military bands are about the only regular “classical” saxophone performing gig out there.
The best candidates are solid and versatile players who read well and are comfortable with number of styles. Doubling on multiple instruments (i.e. a saxophonist who plays flute and clarinet) is also highly desirable.
Even in military bands, the most employable saxophonists are the ones with doubling skills and stylistic versatility (for saxophonists, read: “jazz/rock chops”).